Difficult Birth and Caesarean Section in Dogs

Dog Health

Dogs, like cats, may experience difficulties during childbirth in some cases. The term “dystocia” is used to describe a difficult delivery or failure of a normal natural (vaginal) delivery. In line with the information provided by the routine examinations performed during pregnancy, cesarean delivery may be planned for dogs or the need for cesarean section may arise in dogs due to difficulties that arise during birth. As a matter of fact, statistics confirm this statement and there are statistics that cesarean section is applied at a rate of 60% when difficult births are encountered in dogs. In this article, you can find information about cesarean section in dogs and what to know after cesarean section in dogs.

What Is Cesarean Delivery in Dogs?

Surgical removal of puppies that cannot be born spontaneously through the vaginal route or that cannot be delivered as a result of medical treatments is called cesarean delivery. Thanks to the developing medical technologies today, cesarean delivery provides great advantages in minimizing the dangers that may occur as a result of difficult birth in dogs and in bringing the puppies to the world in a healthy way. However, cesarean delivery in dogs is not a routine method. In cases such as narrow pelvis roofs of pregnant dogs, larger-than-normal size of the puppies, less labor pains, incorrect birth position of the fetuses, cesarean section in dogs emerges as a necessity rather than a preference.

newborn puppies with eyes closed on blue cover

How Is Cesarean Birth Performed in Dogs?

The majority of cesarean deliveries in dogs occur unplanned. In other words, pregnant dogs enter the birth process, do not give birth for a few hours and are delivered to veterinarians after having difficulties in birth. At this stage, as the probability of female dogs becoming dehydrated is quite high, first of all, the fluids or electrolytes they lost will need to be given intravenously. Additionally, veterinarians will determine if expectant mothers are in shock. Attention should be paid to the choice of anesthesia method during cesarean delivery in dogs; general anesthesia has the potential to harm puppies. Before cesarean section in dogs, the lower abdomen is shaved and cleaned. Care should be taken to completely sterilize the area. After all preparations are completed, an incision is made from the navel of the dogs to the pubis area. The incision should be in such a size that the puppies can be removed. After all puppies are removed from the womb, they are closed after suturing with subcuticular sutures in order not to hinder the breastfeeding processes of the puppies.

Considerations After Cesarean Section in Dogs

Caesarean section is a major operation in which puppies are surgically removed from the mother’s womb. Many dogs recover quickly after the operation and regain their health. However, it is known that the recovery process after cesarean section may progress more slowly for those who await a normal delivery for a few hours before the operation. During the operation, anesthesia is given that can be easily removed from the mother’s body. The full recovery period after anesthesia may take 2-6 hours, depending on the mother’s age and general health. In the post-cesarean period in dogs, it is important to make sure that mothers will not fall and injure themselves, and that their puppies will not fall on them. After the anesthesia wears off and the mother is fully awake, she may want to eat within a few hours. At this stage, care should be taken not to overload the stomach. Consumption of large and fast food can cause vomiting. In the early period after birth, it is recommended to feed approximately 1.5 times the amount eaten before pregnancy. When it comes to the third and fourth weeks of breastfeeding, it may be necessary to feed 2-2.5 times more than the pre-pregnancy process. The body temperature of the mother dog may be slightly higher than usual in the 1-3 days after birth; body temperature can vary between 37.8-38.9 degrees. It is expected that this temperature increase will return to normal in a short time.

two puppies inside the box with the bone ornament on it

Puppy Nutrition After Cesarean Section in Dogs

The cubs are ready to be fed shortly after they are born, even before their mothers are fully awakened. There will be no harm in feeding them after they come home. However, puppies will need help, especially if their mothers are not fully awake yet. In this case, the puppies should be gently approached to the breasts while the mother is lying down. It is also possible that mothers do not have enough milk. If the mother’s milk is insufficient, it is recommended that the puppies be fed with milk powders specially formulated for their developmental periods until their milk increases. You can find milk powder types for puppies here.

Puppies require attention in many aspects in this early period when they are born. Since they cannot regulate their body temperature themselves, care should be taken that their mothers are with them and that the temperature of the room they are in is also suitable. At this point, veterinarians will provide detailed information about what needs to be considered.

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